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Why Attend the Summer Institute?

Literacies for All is more like a revival than a conference—a revival of my teaching spirit and the beliefs about children and learning I hold so dear.
---Katie Wood Ray, Waynesville, North Carolina

Lester LaminackWLU was one of my first professional homes, a place where I found my soul resonating with the focus on children. It was the first conference I attended where everyone . . . EVERYONE . . . greeted you and made certain you were folded into a group. Conversations were rich. Ideas and brainstorming and what-ifs were food to the hungry mind. WLU people are like a family where the kinship is thought and caring and respect. The Literacies for All Summer Institute is a homecoming.
---Lester Laminack, Asheville, North Carolina

If you’re feeling discouraged and overwhelmed right now, attend the WLU Summer Institute. You’ll be energized and inspired as you learn to look through a different lens at language, literacy, curriculum, and your daily life as a teacher.
---Carole Edelsky, Arizona State University, Tempe

At the heart of whole language is the belief that teachers are professionals who make countless decisions every day that make a difference in the lives of learners. Those decisions are not a function of following a prescriptive program. They require knowledge and understanding and skill. For more than 25 years, the WLU Summer Institute has offered teachers a venue for developing insight and for sharing experiences with like-minded educators. Teaching is an honored profession at WLU!
---Richard Owen, Richard C. Owen Publishers, Katonah, New York

Jane BaskwillThe WLU Summer Institute is a place where leaders in the field and classroom practitioners have the chance to work and talk side-by-side at sessions, in the halls, and over meals. This opportunity to come together, keeping children at the center of our own learning, makes the WLU Summer Institute a very special learning event for one and all!
---Jane Baskwill, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

For me, WLU offers the best in practice as well as theory. The venue is just the right size. I don’t get lost in the crowd or have to get a ticket for a session. Instead, I get to interact with excellent classroom teachers, as well as the researchers I admire. I go home renewed and refreshed.
---Carol Gilles, University of Missouri, Columbia

Ken GoodmanAs long as I've been attending professional conferences (and it is very long), I never come away from the WLU literacies for All Summer Institute without learning something new and feeling uplifted at the power of the ideas and the brilliance of the teachers who come together there.
---Ken Goodman, Tucson, Arizona

I attend the WLU Summer Institute each year to challenge my own thinking about current issues in the field by participating in innovative sessions and networking with colleagues from around the world.
---Sally Brown, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro

Kathryn Mitchell PierceThe WLU Literacies for All Summer Institute and the NCTE Annual Convention are my two favorite conferences. While I learn a great deal at the Annual Convention, I particularly appreciate the small, intimate nature of the WLU Summer Institute. Between sessions and in the evenings, informal gatherings spring up at tables, along benches, and in hallways, as favorite authors chat with new teachers, regular attendees welcome first-timers, and good friends gather from across the country. The sessions offer rich details from progressive classrooms along with new research threads and conversations about important political issues that affect our teaching. I can't think of a better venue for sharing and expanding my professional practice.
---Kathryn Mitchell Pierce, St. Louis, Missouri

Each year, I look forward to the WLU conference as the keynotes and sessions continue to inspire me and move me forward in my ideas on inquiry-based and critical literacy learning and teaching. I've attended WLU since 1996, and have found it to be a professional home that provides space for highly interactive engagement with others also interested in holistic literacy learning.
---Peggy Albers, Georgia State University, Atlanta

More than two decades ago, Ken Goodman noted that "whole language was a coming of age for professional educators." The WLU still represents "passionate professionals"—those who are committed to the personal and intellectual well-being of children as well as to their own rich and engaging professional lives. This is what I love most about whole language, in general, and the WLU Summer Institute, in particular—time with "passionate professionals" who continually question, investigate, analyze, and discuss how best to support learners, families, and communities. The opportunity for learning both inside and outside the sessions is immeasurable.
---Lois Bridges, Los Altos Hills, California

Sustaining knowledge about language, literacy, and curriculum is the professional responsibility of all serious teachers. When I was teaching regularly, I would assign attendance at a professional conference as a requirement for my teacher education classes related to research and the teaching and learning of language arts. Attending Whole Language Umbrella provides wonderful opportunities to discover ways to expand Joyful Learning in classrooms of children and adolescents. And it provides Joyful lifelong learning experiences for each of us attending the conference. We look forward to seeing you at WLU.     
---Yetta Goodman , Tucson, Arizona

Rick MeyerWLU is a conference for teachers and their students. It's a small conference, and ideas get shared, relationships get built, and we strengthen our commitments to teaching that is driven by knowledgeable teachers who are sensitive to the communities in which we teach.
---Rick Meyer, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

The WLU Conference offers me the opportunity to spend time with quality educators who share a deep commitment to meaningful education. There are always ample opportunities to build on the familiar, learn something new, and engage in significant conversations. The people I meet there are significant mentors and supports for the work I do. WLU welcomes you as a member of a family that will sustain and nurture you across time and place. Every time I attend, it is like coming home.
---Peter Duckett, Bahrain Bayan School, Isa Town, Bahrain

Lorraine WilsonOf all the conferences I attend, the WLU Literacies for All Summer Institute is my very favorite. Why is that? Firstly, the Summer Institute is a small conference, and so each individual attendee is recognized and included. One cannot hide at this conference. Delegates are extremely friendly and make newcomers feel welcome. Secondly, the conference program is a happy mix of both theory and practice, with university academics and classroom teachers featuring on the program. Classroom teachers are valued as researchers and curriculum designers, not merely as implementers of the policies of others. Thirdly, in today’s climate of anti-educational testing and ill-informed political interference in education, it is salutary to attend the WLU Summer Institute and to be with educators who respect one another, and who are working together to protect the rights of students and teachers.
---Lorraine Wilson, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Joni FujitaI look forward to attending WLU conferences because of the friendships that I have made over the years. I also feel uplifted and inspired by educational leaders and colleagues within WLU. The willingness of everyone to share their insights and ideas makes WLU a special organization.
---Joni Fujita, Noelani Elementary, Honolulu, Hawaii

The WLU summer institute is like returning home to spend time with my family where I always know that I will be accepted and supported for who I am. The bonus each year is that I learn so much from the brilliant presentations as well as the conversations that I have throughout the conference with other attendees; conversations that have grown into wonderful friendships over the years.
---David Schultz, Long Island University, Riverhead, New York

Caryl CrowellSince the first WLU conference in St. Louis, I have missed only a few. For me, the conferences are a renewal and a chance to stay centered on what really matters to me. The colleagues and friends I see every summer are my thinking community.
---Caryl Crowell, Borton Magnet School, TUSD, Tucson, Arizona

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